Family caregivers transform lives in Campbell River and the Comox Valley

In Campbell River and the Comox Valley, there’s a network of unsung heroes known as family caregivers.

These individuals and families play a pivotal role in the lives of youth ages 14 to 19, who find themselves navigating the turbulent years of adolescence while grappling with factors beyond their control, such as family substance misuse and poverty.

As contractors for The John Howard Society of North Island, family caregivers provide stable and nurturing environments through community-based living programs. Caregivers are part of an inclusive, supportive team, who provide life-changing services to youth in John Howard’s Compass and 180° programs.

Each young person who resides in a John Howard family care home has a unique story, but most have endured significant adversity at a time in their lives when they are already navigating the challenges of adolescence.

For Family Resource Coordinator Diane Jensen, it’s not just about the paperwork or the statistics; it’s about seeing beyond the surface and understanding the profound impact past experiences have on the present journey of these young people.

“We need to become more aware of our biases towards youth,” Jensen says. “With every single youth who we have in our programs right now, just sitting and having a conversation with them, having a meal with them – it totally demystifies this idea about youth who are super tough. Really, they are just young people who want to enjoy life.”

Jensen’s words resonate for caregivers who strive to break down the barriers of stigma and misconceptions, where every interaction is an opportunity to extend a hand of compassion, to say, “I see you,” and to create a space where authenticity and vulnerability are celebrated.

One caregiver said, “I want the youth to know that they are worthy of time and attention – that they are worthy of that connection.” Another observed, “The youth work on really positive changes. We provide the place where they can rest at the end of the day.”

Family caregivers are integral to the success of youth while they are working on changes in their lives. As part of the Compass and 180° programs, caregivers work closely with program staff who are providing services for youth. Caregivers attend monthly meetings, keep records, take training, and actively support the youth while they are in Campbell River or the Comox Valley for up to six months.

“Caregivers bring the youth into their homes and essentially accept them as one of their own family members,” Jensen explains. “Our caregivers come from diverse backgrounds that help them connect with the youth they are supporting.”

Through empathy, authenticity, and unwavering dedication, family caregivers not only provide shelter and support but also plant a seed of hope and resilience in the hearts of the youth they serve.

The John Howard Society of North Island is currently seeking contracted family caregivers in Campbell River and the Comox Valley. Part and full-time options are available. Caregivers receive 24-hour support, ongoing training, and a monthly retainer of $90 per day plus $70 each day a youth resides in their home.

To learn more about this opportunity contact Diane Jensen or Sadie Ostler: 250-286-0222 or or Follow The John Howard Society of North Island on Facebook or visit

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